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Building Bridges: Dr. Cornel West on Poverty In America

Building Bridges: Your Community & Labor Report
National Edition
Produced by Mimi Rosenberg & Ken Nash
Dr. Cornel West on Poverty In America

Cornel West, is one of Americaâs most gifted, provocative, and
important democratic intellectuals, now focusing much of his energy
on his second national tour to heighten awareness of poverty in the
U.S., aggressively committing to stopping Stop & Frisk practices
and resisting efforts to privatize public education and against school

The national discourse has been focused on the deterioration of the
âmiddle classâ. But this framework ignores the plight of the growing
number of working poor and those not included in the workforce,
suffering crushing poverty. Organized laborâs wages and benefits are
under threat, chronic, high unemployment persists, increasing numbers
of workers are falling off the unemployment benefit rolls and those new
jobs created increasingly paying poverty wages. The recent Census
shows that more than 46 Million Americans last year were living below
the poverty line ($22,314 for a family of 4), the highest level since 1993.

However, the rise of poverty has been ignored by politicians and the
mainstream media. But,author,lecturer,public intellectual Cornel West
is a welcome exception to that reality. He has co-authored the new
book âThe Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifestoâ and has been
traveling the country broadsiding his message that now is the time to
confront the underlying conditions of systemic poverty in America.

Heâs broadcasting the message that there are nearly 150 million
impoverished people in America, who arenât responsible for Great
Recession, yet they pay the price for it. The poor did not create the
deindustrialization of America, unmitigated corporate profiteering
and greed, more than a decade of foreign wars and unregulated tax
benefits for the wealthy. Rather, the housing and jobs crisis the
plutocrats created have fostered a poverty unseen in generations,
crossing race, age and gender lines.

Cornel West places the eradication of poverty in the context of the
nationâs greatest moments of social transformation - the abolition of
slavery, womanâs suffrage, and the labor and civil rights movements.
As did Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. West raises ending poverty as
the defining civil rights struggle of Americaâs 21st century. Building on
the legacy of Dr. King he asks us to re-examine our assumptions about
poverty in America, confront our dormancy and travel the road laid out to
undertake to eradicate poverty, to redistribute the wealth and challenge
the system that thrives off of inequality.
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